Nicholas Phan

Tenor

Biography

Described by the Boston Globe as “one of the world’s most remarkable singers,” American tenor Nicholas Phan is increasingly recognized as an artist of distinction. Praised for his keen intelligence, captivating stage presence and natural musicianship, he performs regularly with the world’s leading orchestras and opera companies. Also an avid recitalist, in 2010 he co-founded the Collaborative Arts Institute of Chicago (CAIC) to promote art song and vocal chamber music, where he serves as Artistic Director.

Phan once again launches his new season in Chicago, curating CAIC’s seventh annual Collaborative Arts Festival. This year’s three-day festival (Sep 5 – 8), “The Song as Drama,” will examine the narrative power of the song cycle and the ability of song to tell epic stories with minimal forces. Other highlights of his 2018-19 season are two role debuts: Eumolpus in Stravinsky’s Perséphone, with Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony; and the title role in Handel’s Jephtha, with Boston Baroque and Martin Pearlman. The title role in Bernstein’s Candide, with Marin Alsop and the Israel Philharmonic, will mark his debut in Israel. In addition to three programs with the San Francisco Symphony, he will return to major orchestras across the country including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, and Colorado Symphony. In November he will sing the first of many outings of Schubert’s Die schöne Müllerin this season, as he gives the world premiere of Antoine Plante’s arrangement of the cycle for full orchestra, with Mercury, the Houston-based orchestra of which Plante is the founder. A celebrated recording artist, Phan will be heard on two forthcoming recordings: Berlioz’s Roméo et Juliette with Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony, (recorded in June 2017); and Handel’s Joseph and His Brethren (recorded in December 2017) with Philharmonia Baroque and Nicholas McGegan, singing the roles of Simeon and Judah.

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Reviews

“…Between these two pieces, tenor Nicholas Phan nearly stole the show with his poised, ironic portrayal of the swan roasting on a spit. This treacherously high aria, “Olim lacus colueram,” is the only solo tenor moment in the work, and it is often comically overplayed by singers without the notes — or, much worse, sung by a countertenor in pretty tones, ruining Orff’s intended effect of vocal strain and discomfort. Phan sang well, while deftly imparting the misery of a cooked bird heading for the blue-plate special.”

Opera News

“Tenor Nicholas Phan was exquisite to hear, giving just enough emotional color to lyrics to show he was a master of the subtle approach. His beautiful interpretations were implicit advocacy for the vocal repertoire of composer Benjamin Britten.”

Creative Loafing Atlanta

More Reviews

“…Between these two pieces, tenor Nicholas Phan nearly stole the show with his poised, ironic portrayal of the swan roasting on a spit. This treacherously high aria, “Olim lacus colueram,” is the only solo tenor moment in the work, and it is often comically overplayed by singers without the notes — or, much worse, sung by a countertenor in pretty tones, ruining Orff’s intended effect of vocal strain and discomfort. Phan sang well, while deftly imparting the misery of a cooked bird heading for the blue-plate special.”

Opera News 

“Tenor Nicholas Phan was exquisite to hear, giving just enough emotional color to lyrics to show he was a master of the subtle approach. His beautiful interpretations were implicit advocacy for the vocal repertoire of composer Benjamin Britten.”

Creative Loafing Atlanta 

“…Nicholas Phan, making his name widely as a Britten tenor, sang the “Nocturne” beautifully and strongly…the Keats setting “What Is More Gentle Than a Wind in Summer?” was particularly gorgeous, with, again, wonderful contributions from those woodwind players…”

The New York Times 

“…The tenor Nicholas Phan, singing with a mix of sweet sound and impetuous temperament, was excellent in the dramatic recitatives relating the story of the trial of Christ before the crucifixion. Mr. Phan and Mr. Davies brought out the best in each other during the wistfully beautifully duet “Et misericordia” from the Bach Magnificat, one of the high points of the fresh, stylistically insightful performance Mr. Suzuki drew from his forces. This was a great start to what could be the sleeper event of the Philharmonic season.”

The New York Times 

“…Between these two pieces, tenor Nicholas Phan nearly stole the show with his poised, ironic portrayal of the swan roasting on a spit. This treacherously high aria, “Olim lacus colueram,” is the only solo tenor moment in the work, and it is often comically overplayed by singers without the notes — or, much worse, sung by a countertenor in pretty tones, ruining Orff’s intended effect of vocal strain and discomfort. Phan sang well, while deftly imparting the misery of a cooked bird heading for the blue-plate special”

Opera News